David McIver: David McIver Is a Nice Little Man

Well, it’s the only show I’ve seen where a man dressed as a Piñata gets beaten to death.

Thankfully, David McIver’s David McIver Is a Nice Little Man is much more than just a sweetie homunculus being murdered by the audience. It’s also a delightfully absurd comic exploration of masculinity and self-confidence. This is a show that’s uniquely inventive in its approach to comedy, getting you to laugh in ways you probably didn’t think you could – I thoroughly enjoyed a hilarious Franz Kafka riff that comes out of nowhere. Like a great deal of good jesting, it’s all about playing with audience expectations, but where it’s edging out the competition is in McIver’s ability to defy even your second and third guesses at what’s coming next by mixing physical comedy with character sketches, audio clips, props, improvisation and even some honest to god brilliant anti-jokes.

True to the title, David McIver really is a Nice Little Man, thoroughly lovely to spend an hour with. A lot of audience interaction aims to get a laugh with teasing or embarrassing the unlucky sacrificial lamb that gets picked, but where it pops up here it’s refreshingly sweet, even gentle.

The whole tone of the show is endearingly good-natured in fact, with a recurring birthday party bit that introduces McIver’s cast of weird characters who pack out the rest of the runtime. Even though it’s silly and nice and nonsensical, it does have a point to make about traditional notions of masculine strength and stoicism, and the harm that does to men who don’t relate or don’t measure up to such rigid, ridiculous principles of manhood. This isn’t a soapbox manifesto of a show by any means, it’s just having some charming fun at the expense of masculine ideals, but it does so with a subtle nod to the real damage they can cause.

Aside from some weak gags here and there, this is a pretty much perfect little comedy show. There’s virtually nothing here that doesn’t work precisely as intended, and it’s intended to keep a stupid grin on your face from start to finish, aside from the breaks in which you’ll be guffawing like a fool.

A fantastic show that I regret not being able to recommend sooner.

★★★★ and a half

Keiran Burnett

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